The plastic industry contributes around 23% of the total sales in the European chemical industry but is traditionally heavily reliant on petrochemicals for their raw material, additives and reaction media (solvents). REFINE will develop sustainable routes to functional materials (green routes) for various polymer/plastic applications. The network will make use of integrated approaches combining green raw materials, green synthesis (biotechnology) and green processing. This will be complemented by critical life cycle analyses and end-user benchmarking. The network will demonstrate these concepts by targeting selected relevant industrial applications, which are fundamentally dependent upon polymers such as thin film applications (coatings, personal care, etc.).
Its leading experts in polymer and material science and biotechnology from 6 academic and research institutions, 2 multinational industrial end-users from different application areas (performance polymers and personal care products) and 1 SMEs will make use of integrated approaches combining green raw materials, green synthesis and green processing. These three elements will systematically be linked in a chain of knowledge approach and complemented through critical life cycle analyses by an SME with specific expertise in ecological process evaluation.
The REFINE network will train a new generation of materials researchers, who are aware of the envi-ronmental impact of their work and can apply the tools of sustainability in their future positions (sustainable materials scientists). It will positively impact the employability of its researchers in the bioplastic industry with a predicted growth of >25% by 2020 by giving them a unique combination of skills through scientific, industrial and individual training at the local and network level.
REFINE will develop a green technology, which can directly be validated and integrated by industry and thus lead towards a greener and more sustainable society.
Fields of science
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